Samsung and Apple, despite their professional partnership have an intense rivalry going on in the mobile world which arrived at the courtrooms as Apple alleged the Koreans of infringing on several of their patents. While the court agreed and sided with Apple that many of the products were in fact infringed upon, Judge Koh has now rejected Apple’s plea to ban the sales of these Samsung smartphones in the U.S. The reason for this judgment is fairly simple. Firstly most of these devices aren’t even on sale in the U.S, so it would make no sense to ban these devices in the country. Also, Apple was known to be licensing some of its patents to rival companies involved in a legal tussle with them, albeit for a fairly unreasonable price. So perhaps the court expects the two giants of the industry to call a truce. This is only a partial relief for Samsung, as this ruling doesn’t include devices like the Galaxy S III, the Galaxy Note II and the Galaxy Nexus which were named by Apple in the second trial between the two companies. So until that happens, I don’t think Samsung will be taking it easy.
The judge also ruled out Samsung’s claims of misconduct by jury foreman Vel Hogan. Judge Koh made it very clear that the court would not want to discuss it further and gave no scope for even an evidential hearing, meaning these claims by Samsung are as good as duds for now. Most of this is highly technical, but in simple terms, Samsung accused Vel Hogan of being biased against it as one of its subsidiaries (Seagate) sued him some time ago. The court had even asked Vel Hogan if he was qualified to be part of the trial and provide unbiased judgments (not knowing about his history), to which he agreed. He failed to mention to the court that he was involved in a lawsuit with Seagate but came up with a response on the issue later claiming that his history with the company wouldn’t influence his actions in the courtroom. Seagate has a bundle of owners and Samsung is the largest single investor in the company with about 9.6% of its stock. So we can make out that Samsung and Mr. Vel Hogan have kind of had a history in the past. But with most of these claims being squashed now, Samsung has no real case against Hogan.
Apple will be looking to appeal Judge Koh’s decision to not ban the infringing Samsung droids in the U.S, while Samsung clearly has no scope for appealing the Vel Hogan issue. This is a minor setback for both the companies, so there’s no clear beneficiary of this ruling yet. It will be interesting to see what the Jury has to say about Apple’s claims of newer Samsung flagships like the Galaxy S III and the Note II infringing on Apple’s patents. It is being speculated that despite the two companies being far off from an out of court settlement, we could well see them coming to an agreement within a year or so. Let’s hope that happens, so that companies can focus on innovation in their products rather than prove who’s better and who’s not.